Holidays used to be one of the best parts of Days of Our Lives.
The Bradys and Hortons used to throw parties for Thanksgiving, The Fourth of July, and Christmas, making viewers feel like we were celebrating with our favorite characters.
Nowadays, though, the lower budget often forces Days of Our Lives to cut the holiday cheer short. During the week of 11-25-19, the sudser skipped the turkey and sides, leaving viewers feeling like they missed out.
It's not like Days of Our Lives didn't acknowledge the holiday at all.
Abigail brought Jennifer turkey and mashed potatoes in the hospital, Julie was setting a Thanksgiving table in the club, and Sonny invited newcomer Evan to Thanksgiving dinner.
But we didn't get to see much, if any, of the actual holiday celebration. Instead, we skipped quickly from people arriving to people telling each other they had a good time when the holiday was over.
Jack: Happy Thanksgiving.
Jen: Happy Thanksgiving. You know, I don't think I've ever had so much to be grateful for.
Jennifer's Thanksgiving in the hospital was the closest thing to a real Thanksgiving.
Parts of it were heartwarming -- especially Jennifer and Jack agreeing that they had a lot to be thankful for her now that she was awake and Jennifer asking Abigail and Jack to join her in saying the prayer that Alice always said.
And Abigail bringing a Thanksgiving meal to Jennifer was sweet.
But even in these scenes, the focus was only partially on Thanksgiving. Most of Abigail's visit was devoted to arguing with Jack about whether or not Eve was the one who put Jennifer in the hospital in the first place.
And if that wasn't enough, Jack and Abby told Jennifer that JJ was "working" (probably a euphemism for out of it on drugs) and that Haley was dead.
Some Thanksgiving cheer!
It's not that the drama had to be on hold for Thanksgiving. The Eve story and the JJ story are important aspects of Jennifer's life.
But there could have been a better balance. That soul-crushing news was not something Jennifer needed to hear on Thanksgiving, especially after learning only a day or so before that Adrienne had died.
She should have been given both pieces of news at once and then Thanksgiving could have been dedicated to being grateful that she had Jack and Abby and trying hard not to be disappointed that JJ wasn't part of the celebration.
We didn't even get to see the family eat together.
As soon as Jack put a stop to talking about Jennifer's attack, Abby and Chad left for an off-screen celebration at Julie's.
Considering how nosy Julie is in general and how JJ had stormed out of her restaurant the day before, that was a missed opportunity for drama, as well as for family time with the oldest surviving member of the Horton clan.
Thanksgiving at the Kiriakises wasn't much better.
Justin: I know why you're in no hurry to go home, Sonny.
Sonny: Cause Mom's not on the couch watching the parade and laughing at us for running a 5K in the cold when there's coffee and sweet rolls at home.
Justin: It's our first holiday without her. I'm feeling it too.
Sonny: And Will.
Justin: Yeah. Well, one way or the other we are going to get through this. What choice do we have?
Justin and Sonny struggling to have Thanksgiving without Adrienne was a great dramatic premise, as was Kayla attending Thanksgiving as Justin's date only six months after Adrienne's death.
But all of that fizzled out as soon as Justin, Kayla, and Sonny got to the mansion.
Sonny quickly informed Kayla he was glad she made his father happy and sorry that she and Steve didn't work out... and then suddenly Thanksgiving was over and both Kayla and Sonny's date were talking about what a nice time they had.
Talk about a non-story. It sounds like all the fun was off-screen since apparently, Victor sat next to Evan.
It would have been fun to see Victor and Xander interact with Sonny's date while Maggie tried to keep the peace.
Plus, Eric finding out that he was the father of baby Mickey would have been an unwelcome topic of conversation that would have undoubtedly come up over and over.
Sarah might have invited Eric and Nicole out of obligation, creating Thanksgiving mayhem.
And we'd get more of an idea about who Evan was and whether he's trustworthy if he interacted with Sonny's family on-screen.
But instead, we got nothing at all, at least as far as the Kiriakis Thanksgiving was concerned.
The most interesting Thanksgiving story was over at John and Marlena's, even if it didn't include much of a celebration either.
The couple's discussion of how Sami never liked to write out her full name when she was a little girl was amusing and so typically Sami, and Marlena hit the nail on the head when she told John that "Hope" was not acting like herself.
With any luck, John and Marlena will soon figure out that Hope has been turned into Princess Gina and that those flowers came from someone claiming to be Stefano.
The jury's still out on the final twist, though.
For months, rumors had been flying around that "Stefano" was really Steve Johnson. If there hadn't already been an overabundance of doppelganger stories on DAYS, this might have been a more interesting idea.
After all, fans have been clamoring for Stephen Nichols' return ever since the actor left Days of Our Lives.
And there was no real way to recast Stefano without provoking long-time fans' wrath.
Joe Mascalo WAS Stefano, as far as many viewers are concerned, and recasting the iconic role now that the actor has passed on feels disrespectful to his memory.
So a phony Stefano may be the best compromise the writers can come up with if they want to pay tribute to the character without recasting the role.
But Stayla fans want to see Steve and Kayla reunited, not Steve brainwashed or otherwise convinced he is Stefano.
And in addition to all the doppelganger stories, fans just went through eight months of amnesiac Jack refusing to believe he was ever in love with Jennifer.
We don't need a rerun with Steve and Kayla.
Speaking of doppelgangers, though, Eve and Hattie's scenes continue to be the comic relief we need to offset all the heavy drama.
Hattie was the only character who ate her Thanksgiving dinner on-screen, and her attempt to teach Eve some manners was funny.
Hattie getting out is not great news for either Eve or viewers. Every time she's free, she tries to pass herself off as Marlena, and with Gina trying to snag John nobody needs that.
Before Thanksgiving, there was some strong drama on a couple of fronts.
First of all, thank God that Eric FINALLY knows the truth about Sarah's baby.
That's the end of those stupid, repetitive, and boring conversations between Nicole and Xander about whether or not Nicole should tell Eric the truth.
And even better, Nicole told Eric herself for once instead of agonizing over her secret until it came out in some other, ugly way.
The aftermath of all this was as predictable as it was annoying, though.
The thing to do was NOT to go storming over to Sarah's making demands.
So, of course, that's what Eric did, and as usual he threw a large scale tantrum and threatened to throw a few punches if he didn't get his way.
Not only did he wake up the baby with his shouting, but he focused entirely on himself and what he wanted.
He may not like Xander, but a child Mickey's age is already attached to her parents, and Xander has been taking care of her. So if Xander were to give in and exit stage right, that would be traumatic for the baby.
God forbid Eric think about his child's well-being instead of how good it would feel for HIM to separate Xander from the baby just like Sarah and Xander's lies separated Eric from her.
As for Nicole, she needs a good talking-to.
Eric never said he was breaking up with her. He thought Mickey was still missing and wanted to help lead the search for the daughter he just learned was his.
Nicole insisted on sitting on the floor crying over the ring she didn't let Eric put on her finger and then when Brady showed up, she turned to him for comfort.
For the love of all that is holy, please let them just stay friends.
If this turns into a full-fledged affair instead of Nicole helping Eric fight (legally) for joint custody of the baby, I'm going to be beyond annoyed.
And what was all that malarky with Ciara calling Rafe using a phony accent that he should have seen through so that he and Xander could find the baby?
Great going, Ciara. Ray is still on the loose and could easily come after her or baby Mickey again when all she needed to do was tell the police that Ray kidnapped the child and attempted to kidnap her, too.
She was afraid that Ben giving her the tip about Ray would cause Rafe to accuse Ben of being involved with the kidnapping.
But that probably could be easily resolved, and this way of doing things didn't help anyone.
The weirdest post-time-jump story continued to be the Lani/Kristen alliance, though.
Lani is vulnerable and sad, so she'd probably spill to anyone, but the things coming out of Kristen's mouth sound far too pious and reasonable to be Kristen.
This seems like a set-up to turn JJ into a bad guy since he refuses to accept that Kristen has changed and wants to confront her about Haley's death.
For months, JJ hasn't had a story, and now he has this character-destroying one. Stop it, Days of Our Lives. He deserves better.
Anyway, as far as Kristen goes, she appears to have somehow switched personalities with Sister Mary Moira. And the whole thing makes little sense, either, because what church would accept a nun who had previously raped a priest?
What did you think, Days of Our Lives fanatics?
Did the short week pack enough punch, or would you have rather Salem celebrated Thanksgiving properly?
What stories are you most excited for when Days of Our Lives returns after its brief hiatus?
And which storyline do you find the weirdest?
Hit SHOW COMMENTS and then add your thoughts. And don't forget to check back on Sunday for our Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.
Days of Our Lives continues to air on NBC on weekday afternoons and will return to the air on December 2, 2019. Check your local listings for airtimes.
Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.